LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Sixth-seeded Utah State women’s basketball (16-14, 10-8 Mountain West) outlasted a late comeback from 11th-seeded Colorado State (8-22, 2-16 MW) for a 62-59 victory in the first round of the Mountain West Championship on Sunday in the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev. The win marked the fifth-consecutive victory for the Aggies as USU has won six of its last seven overall.
A pair of school records were set in the victory as junior guard Eliza West had three assists to become the all-time leader with 437 career helpers, while junior guard/forward Shannon Dufficy set the record for most double-doubles in a single-season with 18 after recording 11 points and 15 rebounds. Junior guard Olivia West scored 13 points off the bench, while freshman guard Steph Gorman had 10.
Utah State outrebounded Colorado State, 36-22, and did not allow a single Ram offensive board.
Utah State took a 4-0 lead in the first quarter before Colorado State tied it up at 4-4. After a CSU layup made it a one-point game, 10-9, a three from O. West, layup from senior guard Rachel Brewster and Dufficy jumper gave USU the eight-point edge, 17-9, at the end of the period.
The Rams cut the lead to four at 17-13 in the second quarter. Another O. West three extended the lead back out to seven at 20-13. The Aggies took a nine-point lead at 27-18 after a jumper from Gorman and a Brewster layup with 3:35 to go. A pair of Colorado State buckets again trimmed the Aggie lead, but another O. West 3-pointer gave Utah State the 30-22 advantage at the end of the stanza.
After a Gorman jumper gave USU the 35-28 lead with 4:44 to go in the third, CSU closed out the quarter with a 10-2 run to take its first lead of the game at 38-37.
Utah State opened the final stanza with a 11-0 run to take the 48-38 lead after free throws from junior forward Marlene Aniambossou, a three from E. West, a Dufficy jumper, an E. West layup and a Dufficy jumper. After an Aniambossou layup gave the Aggies the 52-44 with 2:58 to play, CSU started to trim at the Aggies’ lead to make it a one-point game, 56-55, with 30 seconds to go. The Aggies, however, went 8-for-8 at the free throw line in the final minute to secure the 62-59 victory.
Colorado State had four players score in double figures, led by sophomore guard Lore Devos with 14.
USU finished the night shooting 36.2 percent (21-of-58) from the field, 27.8 percent (5-of-18) from behind the arc and 75.0 percent (15-of-20) at the free throw line. CSU shot 50.0 percent (20-of-40) from the floor, 33.3 percent (3-of-12) from behind the 3-point line and 78.9 percent (15-of-19) at the charity stripe.
Utah State will next take on No. 3 Wyoming (20-7, 13-5 MW) in the semifinals of the Mountain West Championship on Monday, March 11, at 9:30 p.m. (MT), in the Thomas & Mack Center.